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When Diablo III originally launched on consoles, it was a perfect fit. All the abilities required for characters fit neatly onto the button layouts for PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360, while the addition of dodge-rolling via the second control stick improved combat over the original PC release. An additional port to PlayStation 4 and Xbox One added a faster framerate and included the expansion content as well, and worked even better.
So what makes the port to the Nintendo Switch so special? There’s nothing in terms of new features; players get the same great port that existed on other consoles, with the addition of some fun Ganondorf armor. However, making the game portable offers a world of difference. It’s the perfect title to play on the go where one can tackle a few dungeons or some other activities, as well as play with others thanks to the great local multiplayer. Sometimes a great release doesn’t have to do all that much other than release on the right platform. Such is the case here. Diablo III and the Switch are a perfect match.
The original Radiant Historia for the Nintendo DS won multiple categories in RPGamer’s Best of 2011 Awards, so it’s little surprise that the enhanced 3DS port would impress the staff again. Radiant Historia: Perfect Chronology is much like Atlus’s other 3DS ports, featuring extra story content and English voice acting. Although the “third timeline” consists of unconnected possible histories, these missions contain the keys to saving the world once and for all, as well as fleshing out a few relevant NPCs. There isn’t quite as much voiced dialogue in Perfect Chronology as compared to the Devil Survivor ports, but the acting is top notch, enhancing the already excellent story and giving the characters more personality. Other minor additions to the 3DS port include redrawn artwork, the new Support Skill system in battle, and an animated intro movie. These additions, as well as the game’s already great battle system and music, make it one of the best re-releases of 2018.
The original 2010 release of Strange Journey brought Shin Megami Tensei back to its first-person dungeon crawling roots; however, the 3DS would eclipse the original DS in a year, causing many SMT fans to overlook the game’s release. This year, Atlus issued an enhanced remake of Strange Journey to enjoy while the 3DS enters its sunset. The same demon fusing, dungeon crawling, alignment checking action returns, with better graphics and an improved user interface. Fans that played the original have more to look forward to, as the remake adds a sprawling multi-level super dungeon. This massive labyrinth, named Sector Horologium, comes packed with additional quests, items, and a brand-new character that is woven into the original story content. Veterans of the DS game will want to explore Sector Horologium, as it contains bonus items to help you traverse the main dungeons. Shin Megami Tensei: Strange Journey Redux also includes a difficulty slider, giving expert players a new challenge. The slider also allows newcomers to ease themselves into the SMT madness without feeling frustrated by the challenge that gives Shin Megami Tensei its fame. Strange Journey Redux is the perfect game for RPGamers that want a taste of old-school Shin Megami Tensei at its finest.
by Michael Apps, Cassandra Ramos, and Kelley Ryan
These awards are dedicated to the memory of our friend Michael A. Cunningham. Mac started at RPGamer in 2006 and would go on to become the long-running Editor-in-Chief. While Mac loved RPGs, he especially loved handheld games, founding the #TeamHandheld hashtag as well as running a personal project site, Pocket Console, where you can read more of his musings on portable games.
You can see Michael’s top games, which is to a Google Document because Mac loved organizing lists in spreadsheets, a tradition continued with our speadsheet-based awards voting form. You can also read the tributes to Michael from the community as well as a list of our favorite works by Mac as well as Francis Gayon’s musical tribute based on Mac’s favourite game, Final Fantasy IV. Also, a special thanks to our friends at RPGFan who dedicated their recent Top 25 Nintendo 3DS Games and Top 20 PlayStation Vita Games features to Michael’s memory.